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On Sustainable Energy (Part I)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 9, 2012

The market order encompasses the concept of sustainability, which has been defined (Brundtland Report) as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”[1]

In a sustainable energy market, the quantity, quality, and utility of energy improve over time. Sustainable energy becomes more available, affordable, usable, and reliable. Energy consumers do not borrow from the future; they subsidize their progeny by enabling the expansion of technology and upgraded infrastructure.

The catchphrase sustainable energy encompasses the goals of security and reliability, energy availability, and environmental progress. Critics of industrial modernism censure fossil fuels, beginning with coal and continuing with oil. Relatively cleaner-burning natural gas is preferred of the three, but sometimes only as the transition fuel to an envisioned post-hydrocarbon economy.…